Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Bike Ride for Beezus

Beezus on her two-wheeler bike with pedals.

In a recent development, Beezus is riding a two wheeled bicycle WITH pedals and WITHOUT training wheels. For the past couple years, she's been riding a strider (also called pedal-less bike or walking bike) bike fairly regularly, which was generously given to us by La Vida Cochinillo, Ms. Vickie. (Ms. Vickie was a big fan to kids learning to ride bikes using the pedal-less method). Although Beezus would occasionally ride a too-small bike with pedals and training wheels, her "official" bike has not had pedals (or training wheels) for over a year. We bought her a good quality bike from REI about a year ago, and asked the guy to take off the pedals. She's been asking to put the pedals back on for a couple weeks, but before I said yes, I've been challenging her to balance for longer distances and to ride further. I knew she was ready when we rode to the library recently (about .5 mile) and a couple days later we took the bike into REI for a check-up and to have the pedals put back on.

We took the bike out of the store, she got on it on the sidewalk, used her feet to get her moving and then started pedaling. We came home and within a half hour or so, she was riding from one end of the block to the other. The next day she rode it the entire way to Target, about .7 of a mile.

When she started on the sidewalk at home, her face would alternate between expressions of glee and concentration. When she concentrates she presses her lips into a thin line and her face reminds me of how she looked when she was a toddler and would be attempting to climb over the baby gate. Then I just want to throw myself on the grass and cry and sob with sadness and excitement over her growing up.

Ramona on the wooden pedal-less bike. 
Generously donated to our family by Ms. Vickie !
Ramona, bless her heart, is having a hard time with her sister leaving her behind. Ramona is now the proud owner of the wood strider bike, and keeps up pretty well on our bike rides. She also figured out recently that no matter how old she gets, Beezus will always be older. This realization, combined with being left behind (at least until the end of every block with Beezus stops and waits for her) has been the cause of many tears of frustration on the sidewalk.  She likes to casually roll her bike onto the sidewalk blocking Beezus' path, so that Beezus has to go around her.

I remember learning to ride a two-wheeler.  My bike was a dark pink with a white seat.  I remember each of my parents taking turns running along behind me holding the seat and the feeling of lightness when they let go and I was pedaling on my own.  One of of our bike rides along the path through our town park, I asked Beezus to stop and close her eyes and try to remember this bike ride so that she maybe tell her kids about it when she gets older.

These times are so precious to me.  It's hard to think that she may not remember them.

Beezus riding her strider bike (aka walking bike) in March 2009. She was 3 1/2 years old.
Beezus on bike - March 2009 from Ellen T on Vimeo.

Beezus riding her two-wheeler bike in June 2011. She is 5 3/4 years old.
A Bike Ride for Beezus from Ellen T on Vimeo.


dc604 said...

makes me think of this song:

I've always loved it, but its funny how now I know what it really means..."these are the days" - natalie merchant.

Marya said...

Woooo hooooo!

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